Couldn't find what you were after on our visit us or stay pages? Below, we provide guidance on a range of topics including alcohol consumption, assistance animals, accommodation and the island's amenities. Still have questions? See: Contact us.
Q: How do I get to and from Cockatoo Island?
Catching a public ferry is the easiest way to get to and from Cockatoo Island. The F3 and F8 services operate to Cockatoo Island daily, departing from Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo as well as from wharves along Parramatta River. For further information, including timetables, visit the Transport NSW website. You can also visit Cockatoo Island by water taxi, private boat or kayak. The privately-run Cockatoo Boat Storage offers casual berthing for private vessels at Camber Wharf on the island’s southern apron. To pay for casual berthing, head to Marina Café & Bar near the gangway. Overnight berths must be booked in advance by calling (02) 9940 0172 or emailing email@example.com.
Q: What are Cockatoo Island's operating hours?
Cockatoo Island is open to visitors daily, from the first ferry arrival to the last ferry departure. The F3 and F8 services operate to Cockatoo Island daily, departing from Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo as well as from wharves along Parramatta River. Please visit the Transport NSW website for specific ferry schedules.
Q: Does Cockatoo Island offer food and beverage options?
There are 2 cafes on Cockatoo Island, both of which are family-friendly venues licensed to serve alcohol. Cockatoo Overboard is located a short stroll from the ferry wharf, while the Marina Café and Bar is is near Camber Wharf. The island’s vending machines contain small snacks and cold drinks, small sundry food items are available for purchase from the Visitor Centre and a range of meal and barbeque packs are available for pre-order.
Q: Can I bring my own food and drinks?
You are free to bring food and non-alcoholic beverages to Cockatoo Island; however, a No BYO Alcohol Policy applies to campground guests. Both of the island’s cafés are licensed to serve alcohol, and takeaway wine and beer is available to accommodation guests from Cockatoo Overboard.
Q: Is Cockatoo Island accessible?
Cockatoo Island is a former industrial site with cliffs and steep drops as well as occasional unmarked and uneven surfaces, voids, and trip hazards. For your safety, mind your step, wear appropriate footwear, stay alert for vehicles and construction activity, and monitor any children with you. The lower island is generally accessible by wheelchairs and mobility scooters; however, there are uneven surfaces, and some buildings are not suited to mobility aids. Further, accessing the plateau requires visitors to climb stairs and ascend rises. The campground is wheelchair accessible, with a dedicated shower and toilet available; however, tents have a step to enter, which is not suitable for wheelchair access. Priority works and major events may disrupt visitor access to areas of Cockatoo Island. Check our website for details and speak to our visitor centre staff for help, including alternative routes.
Q: Is smoking permitted on Cockatoo Island?
Smoking is permitted with some exceptions. Visitors are not permitted to smoke in accommodation areas, including the campground, or within 5 metres of any buildings.
Q: Is there an ATM on Cockatoo Island?
There are no ATMs on the island; however, the Visitor Centre and other retail outlets offer EFTPOS facilities. Note: Minimum purchase amounts may apply, cash withdrawals not available.
Q: Are visitors permitted to take photos or film?
With the exception of wedding shoots, visitors do not require permission to photograph or film their visit for personal use. Filming and photography for any other reason (e.g. wedding and commercial shoots) requires a permit. To apply for a permit, see: Filming and photography.
Q: Are lockers available on Cockatoo Island?
Gold coin operated lockers are located in the Muster Station (near the Visitor Centre) for use by day visitors and campground guests seeking to store their luggage, prior to check-in and following check-out. Each locker contains power outlets for charging devices.
Q: Where is the closest parking?
Visitors and accommodation guests are not permitted to bring vehicles onto Cockatoo Island. Parking is available at Woolwich, with plenty of unmetered spaces. Valentia Street Wharf at Woolwich is just one ferry stop from the island.
Q: Who manages Cockatoo Island?
Cockatoo Island is managed by the Harbour Trust.
Q: Is there disability access?
Cockatoo Island has wheelchair access and accessible toilet facilities; however, there are some uneven surfaces.
Q: Can I bring my pet to Cockatoo Island?
No animals, except for assistance animals (as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992), are permitted to access Cockatoo Island.
Q: Am I allowed to skateboard or rollerblade on Cockatoo Island?
Visitors are not allowed to skateboard, rollerblade or rollerskate on the island.
Q: Are children allowed to ride bikes or scooters on Cockatoo Island?
Children are allowed to ride bikes and scooters but must wear a helmet while doing so. Petrol powered bicycles, electric scooters, remote controlled devices, and mobile human transporters are not allowed on Cockatoo Island.
Q: Does the island have a bag check policy?
Yes. Our rangers and security officers will undertake random bag checks as visitors arrive at Cockatoo Island, and will confiscate prohibited items, including alcohol, portable BBQs and skateboards. Visitors will be asked to surrender any alcohol prior to a bag check. Any item surrendered will be placed in our security office and can be collected by the owner upon their departure. Visitors who fail to surrender prohibited items, which are then discovered during a bag check, can be fined up to $340. Visitors who decline a bag check will be asked to leave the island on the next ferry.
Q: Are there water fountains and refill stations on the island?
Yes, there are multiple water fountains around the island but no water refill stations.
Q: Does Cockatoo Island have BBQ facilities for public use?
The Northern Apron Park has free BBQ facilities and seating. Visiting with a large group? The campground kitchen can be booked for $250 and features shaded seats, BBQs, hot water, fridges and microwaves.
Q: Does Cockatoo Island offer tours to the public?
Visitors can embark on guided tours as well self-guided audio tours. For more information, see: Tours
Q: Does Cockatoo Island have sporting facilities?
Cockatoo Island has a harbourside basketball court and a novelty-sized chess board, both located on the Eastern Apron. The tennis court on the upper island is currently closed to the public. For more information, see: Visit us
Q: Are there activities for kids on Cockatoo Island?
Young visitors can become history detectives with our Convict Clues Challenge activity booklet. Available for just $2.50 from the Visitor Centre, the Convict Clues Challenge activity booklet includes colouring-in challenges and games.
Q: Are there movie screenings at Cockatoo Island?
The Campground Cinema screens films for accommodation guests for every night. The schedule includes an all-ages film at 7pm and a film for grown-ups form 9:15pm. Check with the accommodation desk to see which titles are playing during your stay.
Q: Can I fish on Cockatoo Island?
Fishing is not allowed on the island.
Q: Do you have a visitor brochure I can share with family and friends?
Yes. Please see our all-in-one Visit and Stay guide (pdf). Physical copies are also available at our visitor centre.
Q: Are people permitted to bring alcohol to the island?
To prevent unsafe alcohol consumption and curb anti-social behaviour, alcohol rules are enforced on the island by our rangers and security officers.
Rules for day visitors
Visitors are NOT permitted to bring alcohol onto the island. In other words, BYO alcohol is not permitted. Apartment and heritage house guests are an exception to this rule. Both of the island's food and beverage venues – Cockatoo Overboard and the Marina Café and Bar – are licensed to serve alcohol. Note: Children are not permitted into the bar areas of these venues after 3pm Saturdays and Sundays.
Rules for campers
Campers are NOT permitted to bring alcohol onto the island. The campground is a shared, family-friendly zone patrolled by rangers and security officers. Security and rangers patrol the campground and can confiscate any alcohol found during this time, and also issue on-the-spot fines. Bag checks apply before check-in.
Both of the island’s cafés are licensed to serve alcohol, and takeaway alcohol is available to campers from Cockatoo Overboard during their operating hours. Note: Takeaway alcohol can be consumed in one of 3 licensed areas – within a tent, within the campground kitchen and at the campground fire pit. Each campground reservation is limited to one bottle of wine (opened), and 4 cups of beer per hour per booking, due to NSW Liquor Licensing laws.
Rules for apartment and house guests
House and apartment guests are permitted to bring alcohol to consume within their rented accommodation. Unlike the campground, the houses and apartments have their own designated areas, including kitchens, balconies and outdoor areas. The responsible consumption of alcohol within these areas is the responsibility of the guest who made the booking.
Q: Is there anything I need to bring with me?
Depending on what is included in your selected accommodation package, we recommend you bring certain items with you.
Q: Can I hire or purchase additional items on the island?
Yes. The following extras are available for campers and other accommodation guests to hire and purchase from the Visitor Centre:
Q: Are gift vouchers available?
Yes, gift vouchers are available for our accommodation options.
Q: Where can accommodation guests enjoy food?
For a care-free stay on Cockatoo Island, we offer a range of convenient meal options for campers and other accommodation guests.
For catered dining, head to Cockatoo Overboard, just a short stroll from the ferry wharf, or journey to Camber Wharf to arrive at the Marina Café and Bar. These family-friendly venues are both licensed to serve alcohol. For more information, see: Visit us
The campground kitchen offers campers a range of sheltered facilities exclusively for their use. These include barbeques, boiling water, fridges, a coffee maker, microwaves, a vending machine and seating for up to 50 people.
BBQ and breakfast packs
A range of BBQ and breakfast packs are available for campers and other accommodation guests to pre-order from Cockatoo Overboard. Orders must be placed at least 48 hours prior to arrival. Orders can be made at the time of booking your accommodation online (see: optional extras section of the booking process). If you have already made an accommodation booking and would like to add a pack to your reservation, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can assist.
Q: Do you have accommodation Terms and Conditions online?
Yes. You will find a link to the accommodation T&Cs on the webpages for our individual offerings. Alternatively, you can view the T&Cs here.
Q: Are there movie screenings at Cockatoo Island?
Our Campground Cinema, located on the Upper Island next to the Convict Precinct (Building 6), is open to Accommodation guests every night. Movies screen at designated times depending on age group.
Q: Where on Cockatoo Island is the campground located?
The campground is located on the water’s edge at the northern end of Cockatoo Island.
Q: What time is check-in and check-out for campground guests?
Check-in is 2pm; check-out is 10am. The Visitor Centre is open for check-in until 5pm. Security will be available to assist with late check-ins.
Q: How many people can fit in a tent?
The maximum person per tent, will depend on which camping package you purchase:
For more information, see: Camping on Cockatoo Island
Q: What size are the BYO tent sites?
Each BYO tent site is 4m x 4m. For more information, see: Camping on Cockatoo Island
Q: Can I bring my own tent?
Yes. However, if your tent exceeds 4m x 4m you will need to book one or more additional BYO tent sites.
Q: Is power available to campers?
Pre-erected tents and BYO tent sites are unpowered; however, power is available to accommodation guests in the communal kitchen, shower facilities and locker facilities.
Q: What amenities are available?
All campers have access to hot showers, toilets and a communal kitchen featuring fridges, microwaves and a boiling water system. Campers are prohibited from bringing personal cooktops, gas or charcoal BBQs.
Q: Does Cockatoo Island have a fire pit?
Yes. Cockatoo Island’s fire pit is located towards the end of the campground, near the slipways. It is lit every night, dependent on weather.
Q: Are there laundry facilities?
The campground laundry facilities, near the slipway, are available for use during offices hours of 9am to 4pm. To use these facilities, head to the accommodation counter at the Visitor Centre. Each washing load is $4 and detergent satchels are also available for purchase.
Q: Can I bring my campervan or boat?
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate campervans on the island; however there is parking available at Woolwich, just a short ferry ride away. Short-term and overnight boat berthing is available at Camber Wharf on the southern side of island. Book at Cockatoo Island Marine Centre.
Q: Is after-hours help available?
Our security team is onsite 24 hours a day. Contact details are provided to guests at check-in.
Q: What if there is heavy rain in the campground?
In the event of a significant weather event (e.g. heavy rain, wind or lightning) or if the campground floods, security will implement the island’s wet weather plans. This may include leading guests to a sheltered area until a storm has passed or relocating guests whose personal tents are inadequate for the weather conditions.
Management can offer campers rainchecks in the event of extreme weather or if the campground has flooded. In the event of general wet weather, the campground will remain open and campers will not be issued rainchecks. For all other requests for rainchecks and extensions, our normal terms and conditions still apply.
Cockatoo Island’s wet weather warning system alerts management to the risk of extreme weather, irrespective of the public weather forecast. In reaching any decision on rainchecks, management will consult the weather warning system, consider pre-weather events in the 48 hours prior to a camper’s arrival, and assess the weather on the day of their arrival. Should management decide to offer campers a raincheck, they will be contacted on the morning of their arrival (approx. 10am).
Q: Is there a noise curfew?
The period from 10pm to 7am has been designated 'quiet time' in the campground. Please consider your fellow campers, avoid making excessive or loud noises, and do not ride scooters and bicycles along the wooden promenade on the waterfront next to the campground. Also be mindful that noise generated on the island travels across open spaces and across the harbour to the foreshore easily.
Q: What time is check-in and check-out?
Check-in is 3pm; check-out is 11am. The Visitor Centre is open for check-in until 5pm. Security will be available to assist with late check-ins.
Q: Where do I check-in?
Check-in is at the Visitor Centre. Guests and their luggage will then be taken to the Upper Island by guest services staff in the buggy.
Q: Is there a minimum length of stay?
Yes. House and apartment guests must stay a minimum of one night if there stay occurs between Monday and Thursday or 2 nights if there stay is occurs between Friday and Sunday. Apartment guests must stay a minimum of nights if their stay occurs between Friday and Sunday.
Q: Can I hold a function in the Harbour View Apartments or Garden Riverview Apartment?
Apartments are only for the residential use of booked occupants. No functions, events, ceremonies or parties are to be held in the apartments.
Q: Can I hold a function in the Heritage Houses?
Booked occupants of the houses can hold a small event up to 30 people. Fees apply. For more information, view our Hire Agreement for Event Bookings in the Heritage Houses
Q: Can I bring my own alcohol if I'm staying in a house or an apartment?
Guests staying in the island’s Heritage Houses and Apartments are permitted to bring a reasonable amount of alcohol to consume within their rented accommodation.
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